The carnival of Venice was first recorded in 1268. The subversive nature of the festival is reflected in the many laws created over the centuries in Italy attempting to restrict celebrations and often banning the wearing of masks.
Masks have always been a central feature of the Venetian carnival; traditionally people were allowed to wear them between the festival of Santo Stefano (St. Stephen's Day, December 26) at the start of the carnival season and midnight of Shrove Tuesday. As masks were also allowed during Ascension and from October 5 to Christmas, people could spend a large proportion of the year in disguise. Maskmakers (mascareri) enjoyed a special position in society, with their own laws and their own guild.
In 1797 Venice became part of the Austrian-held Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia when Napoleon signed the Treaty of Campo Formio. The Austrians took control of the city on January 18, 1798 and it fell into a decline which also effectively brought carnival celebrations to a halt for many years. Carnival was outlawed by the fascist government in the 1930's. It was not until a modern mask shop was founded in the 1980s that a revival of old traditions began.
Carnival starts on February 2nd and ends on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras), the day before Ash Wednesday.
The distance from Lignano is about 105 km., ca. 1 hour and 10 minutes with a car.